True or false? When it comes to dealing with others you should simply treat then how you want to be treated. If you answer true, continue reading because I hope to change your mind.
Imagine that you engage a marketing consultant to ascertain how customers want to be treated when visiting your store. You agree on a fee of $5,000.00. The marketing consultant leaves your office and stops the first vehicle that drives past and asks the driver “If you entered that store how would you like to be treated?” The marketer records the passerby’s response walks back into your store and says, “There’s your market research. Can I have my fee of $5,000.00?”
You wouldn’t pay them, would you? No, because they have only asked the one person. Which is what we do when we say that we should treat people how we want to be treated, we have only asked the one person. In marketing terms this is called a random sample of one.
A case in point
An Ag Business picked up a new client, a corporate farm. Brian (not his real name), the manager, upon meeting his new agro asked, “Do you provide good service?” The Agro assured Brian that he did. The agro then set about providing the client with what he regarded as great service. If he had of asked, “Brian, what are the things that you regard as great service?” he would have discovered that this didn’t match up to what he, the agro, regarded as great service.
When there is a gap between what the client expects and what we deliver we have the beginnings of conflict.
This is why we should not turn up and throw-up.
If we do all the talking; dominate the conversation, then we do not get to learn about how the client wants to be treated. What do they regard as great service? How do they want us to maintain our relationship with them? What are their values and what are their expectations of us? All great questions to ask a potential client.
Very often though, we turn up to a client’s farm and we dominate the conversation. We turn up and we throw-up, telling the client what we do, how we can help and what we know.
Can I start by asking a few questions?
After small talk the first question to ask is “[Client’s name] would it be okay if I ask a few questions?” This is like knocking on a door and being invited in, instead of just barging in and risk coming across as being pushy.
Asking permission to ask questions conveys to the client that we are respectful and polite, it also reminds us to find out about them before we tell them about us.
The golden rule.
Instead of treating others how we want to be treated, treat them how they want to be treated. If this is our rule, then we will more likely give the other person a good listening to before we start talking.
There is an inequity with treating everyone the same. If you are a manager, you know that what can motivate one staff member won’t even register with another; different strokes for different folks.
Listening shows that we are interested and that we care.
Finding out their likes, dislikes, attitudes, what they stand for and very importantly what they won’t stand for treats them as an individual and conveys to them that we care. Compare this to a sales rep who turns-up, throws-up and treats the client how he/she wants to be treated.
Oh…and for the blokes reading this; listening is the cure for nagging!